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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Grant Takes Dive, Holds On for Title

Sunset Six League: Lancers stop two-point conversion run to edge North Hollywood, 28-27.

November 10, 2000|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VAN NUYS — The sun was rapidly disappearing behind the stands at Grant High. The Sunset Six League title was on the line.

North Hollywood had just completed an 82-yard drive to pull within one point with 2:29 to play. With no timeouts remaining, the Huskies hurried to the line of scrimmage for a two-point conversion attempt and ran an ill-advised dive play that was stuffed by Grant.

Pandemonium broke out in the Grant stands packed with rollicking students still carrying backpacks full of books because they had come straight from school for the afternoon game.

As darkness descended, the Lancers ran out the clock to win, 28-27, Thursday and secure their first league championship since 1989.

"It means so much to us," Grant tailback Perry Clayton said. "It means so much to our school."

Clayton made it happen. The 5-foot-8 senior rushed for 307 yards and all four touchdowns in 27 carries. His scoring runs of 14 and 42 yards in the fourth quarter gave Grant (7-3, 5-0 in league play) a 28-14 lead that stood up, albeit barely.

Clayton increased his season rushing total to 2,318 yards, the most in more than a decade by a City Section back in the Valley.

"That's nice, but the championship means more to me than the 2,000 yards or any record," Clayton said.

North Hollywood (5-5, 4-1) ran 30 more plays than Grant and marched 66, 80 and 82 yards for touchdowns. But the Huskies could not contain Clayton.

One play after North Hollywood took a 7-0 lead on a two-yard run by Chris Berroud with 5:40 to play in the second quarter, Clayton sped 69 yards for a touchdown.

The Huskies took a 14-7 halftime lead on their only big play--a 60-yard run around end by Pablo Ramos, who at 5-6 and 135 pounds is dwarfed even by Clayton. Ramos rushed for 116 yards in nine carries and had six receptions for 32 yards.

Grant tied the score, 14-14, early in the third quarter, moving 40 yards in three Clayton runs, the last a score from four yards.

Clayton went to work in the fourth quarter, ripping off runs of six and 19 yards, then scoring from 14 yards.

Following a North Hollywood punt, Clayton took a pitch and raced 42 yards for a touchdown and the 28-14 lead with 8:38 left.

The euphoria was short-lived. Lamar Green returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards to pull North Hollywood within a touchdown.

Or more accurately, a touchdown and an extra point, which the Huskies were unable to convert.

"The guys really did a good job of holding together down the stretch," Grant Coach Bill Foster said.

Grant qualifies for the City Championship tournament. North Hollywood must hope for a berth in the City Invitational tournament.

COVERAGE INSIDE

* Jerome Williams scored three touchdowns in the first quarter in Kennedy's victory over San Fernando. D15

* Chatsworth stunned previously unbeaten Birmingham, 34-27, behind Joe Shumpert's three touchdowns. D15

* Kyle Bauer helped Valencia clinch second place in the Foothill League but injured his non-throwing hand. D15

* Buena routed Santa Barbara, 54-7, as the Bulldogs won their fourth consecutive Channel League title. D16

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